Two new Gamma Cameras installed at Sharon Regional Health System

Sharon Regional Health System’s Heart Center and Medical Imaging departments recently installed the newest technology in nuclear medicine gamma cameras. The two new Forte ™ nuclear medicine cameras enable physicians to provide quicker, more accurate diagnoses by allowing them to see the physiology rather than just the structure of the heart, brain and other organ systems. The gamma camera systems, which utilize the latest in advanced technology and are valued at $1.5 million, are the newest dual- head camera systems made by ADAC Laboratories of California, the market leader in gamma cameras.

“This unit is a tremendous asset to us in the rapid diagnosis of underlying heart disease, the number one killer in the United States, ” stated James Landis, M.D., cardiologist and medical director of Sharon Regional’s Heart Center. “This further positions our Heart Center in the leadership role in bringing the newest technology in cardiac diagnostic services to our patients. The enhancement of our cardiology program with the ADAC cameras is another of the many examples of raising our Heart Center’s capabilities to the highest levels possible, as we continue the development of our Heart Institute.”

Sharon Regional’s Heart Institute, set to open next summer, will include open heart surgery, coronary angioplasty, rotoblator and high-risk cardiac catheterizations.

Based on the Heart Center’s high number of patient visits, ADAC has chosen Sharon Regional as its east coast clinical site for this camera. Cardiologists and other staff from hospitals throughout the east coast are actively visiting Sharon Regional for demonstrations and clinical applications of this new imaging system.

For Medical Imaging, monoclonal antibody studies to help detect cancers and blood clots and brain SPECT scans to study the vital flow of blood to the various regions of the brain are new procedures available with the system as well as all nuclear medicine studies performed by the previous unit, according to Paul Smart, M.D., interventional radiologist.

While both systems can perform all nuclear medicine studies, the Heart Center’s unit is used primarily for Myocardial Perfusion Imaging for stress testing, as well as to determine the ratio of living heart muscle to damaged tissue.

One of the additional benefits of the new cameras is the openness that allows greater comfort for the patient and ease for the technologist performing the scan.

The cameras also reduce the amount of time that each patient must spend having a procedure by 50 percent allowing test results to reach the physician more rapidly. The cameras position their detectors in a variety of directions. This allows patients to be imaged in the most comfortable positions (sitting, standing, lying face-up, face-down or semi-upright) even accommodating patients on a stretcher or hospital bed. The technologist has complete access to the patient while the patient’s head remains comfortably outside of the camera. This flexibility particularly benefits those patients who suffer from claustrophobia.

In nuclear medicine studies, small amounts of tracer substances are administered to a patient and are absorbed by various organs of the body. The gamma camera detects and maps the distribution and concentration of the substances in the area to be studied. The information is then fed to a computer, which creates and displays a detailed, functional image of the specific organ or area.

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